Summary: In James 1:2-12 we learn five timeless, spiritual truths that enable us to turn trials into triumphs.
A. In Max Lucado’s book, In The Eye Of The Storm (published in 1991), he tells a story about a parakeet named Chippie.
1. Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage, and the next he was sucked in, washed up and blown over.
2. The problem began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner.
3. She put the end of the hose into Chippie’s cage to clean the bottom, but then the phone rang.
4. She turned to answer the phone, and barely said “hello” when she heard “ssssopp!”
5. Chippie was sucked into the vacuum.
6. The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and quickly opened the bag.
7. There was Chippie…still alive, but stunned.
8. Since the bird was covered with dust and dirt, she raced him to the bathroom, turned on the water and held Chippie under the running water.
9. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, ,she did what any compassionate bird owner would do…she reached for the hair blow dryer and blasted Chippie with hot air.
10. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
11. A few days after the trauma, the reporter who had initially written about the traumatic event called Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering.
12. “Well,” the owner replied, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore…he just sits and stares.”
B. And it’s not hard to see why.
1. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over…that’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
2. “Sucked in, washed up, and blown over.” That about sums up how many of us feel at times when life hits us hard. Isn’t that right? You’ve felt that way before, haven’t you?
3. M. Scott Peck begins his book The Road Less Traveled with a three word sentence that is packed with simple, yet profound truth…it reads, “Life is difficult.”
4. And he is so very right. Life is difficult. Who said life would be easy?
C. As we begin our investigation of the letter of James, we notice that the first subject he tackles is the problem of trials and temptation.
1. James knows that the recipients of his letter are facing many trials from without and temptations from within.
2. Many of them had been forced to leave their homes in Jerusalem under the threat of persecution.
3. They were living in places new to them and among strangers. They were having to adjust to their entirely different situation.
4. Their situation might not be all that different in many respects to the experience of those who have been displaced from New Orleans after the hurricane, obviously for very different reasons.
5. But nevertheless they were suffering.
D. The message that James wants to give them is the same message that is communicated throughout the Bible about suffering.
1. The Biblical record shows that the people of God over and over turned defeat into victory and trials into triumphs.
2. No matter what the trials on the outside or temptations on the inside, through faith in God we can experience victory, and the result of victory is spiritual maturity.
E. There are many ways that we could approach the first chapter of James, but I have decided to divide the chapter into three sections.
1. In today’s section we will address the trials we face, next time we will address temptations that we struggle against, and later we will work with the rest of the chapter.
2. Let me share five timeless spiritual truths that are discussed in verses 2 through 12. These will help us turn our trials into triumphs.
I. Truth #1 – Our Toughest Times Can Be Marked By Joy.
A. James writes, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2).
1. One thing we all know is that our lives are marked by trials of many kinds.
2. When we examine the trials that we face we notice that they fall into different categories.
B. One kind of trial is that which we bring on ourselves.
1. These trials are the result of our foolishness or our willful disobedience.
2. Either way, the suffering that comes from this kind of trial is our own fault.
3. I was thinking of one foolish day as a young driver and car owner, when I decided on the spur of a moment to go after some kids who just threw snowballs at my car as we drove by.
a. They were throwing the snowballs from a snowbank in a shopping center.
b. I attempted to quickly turn into the parking lot to go teach them a lesson, when my car could not make the turn because of my speed and the slick conditions and I slide right into a concrete pylon protecting the entrance sign. I ruined the front quarter panel of my car.